Is there anything wrong if a frum yeshiva bochur goes to sports games once in a while? | Rav Avigdor Miller

Q: Is there anything wrong if a frum yeshiva bochur goes to sports games once in a while if he’s careful to watch himself?

A: I don’t know what that means, “careful to watch himself.” The answer is that it certainly is wrong for a yeshiva bochur to go to sports games. A yeshiva bochur – not only a yeshiva bochur; I think that every frum Jew should disassociate himself from public amusements. Some people are so Americanized that they identify with the American scene. You must know that all these things are places where people are victimized. What a stupidity to come and watch other people getting exercise! And you pay money for it! Isn’t it stupid to be enthusiastic as people are skating or playing lacrosse or basketball or soccer, whatever it is, and you are paying to watch it?! If you could get on the field yourself and kick the ball around, so at least you get exercise. But you’re sitting on a chair and all you’re doing is getting hemorrhoids from sitting on a hard chair. And if not hemorrhoids you’re getting fat. And they’re getting money from you. So you’ve been victimized. Don’t be a fool to just join in the herd that’s being led to the slaughter.

In general, even though there’s nothing wrong in a game, but it’s stupid, it’s meaningless. Who cares who wins? And the mere fact that you identify with the herd, that fact that you’re being stampeded by the herd is a tragedy. You’re losing your identity – you’re the Am Hanivchar, the chosen nation; you have different things. You’re not interested in that garbage. And therefore when you go to a rock and roll gathering or other music – even kosher places – it’s so silly to be part of a big crowd sitting and listening to syncopations, to noise, banging on the drum and blowing on the flute. What is it? It’s music that means nothing. There’s no ideal to it and so we should disassociate ourselves from the mob of non-thinkers. Even from the Orthodox mob. We are expected to be הן עם לבדד ישכון – Behold the nation that dwells alone, ובגוים לא יתחשב – and we’re not counted among the goyim.

Now, when it came to voting, I said everybody should be counted, everyone should vote because that was a vote for the Am Yisroel – to vote for Reagan was a vote for saving America from disaster, and that means us sitting here. Boruch Hashem, we had a yeshua, we were rescued from that rotten character Mondale and the other rotten character Ferraro – they should both drop dead right away. It would have been the biggest tragedy had they been elected. Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave us a geulah veyeshua! “Boruch atah Hashem,” we have to cry out in happiness. We don’t realize what we were rescued from.

But otherwise, outside of voting, stay away from the goyim and just do what the Am Yisroel does. If you want to go to a place where there’s singing, then go to a rebbeh; go to a big melave malka where a rebbeh is sitting at a table and maybe five hundred Jews are sitting there and they’re singing together. That’s something you could do if you want. I myself prefer to sit and learn motzei shabbos. But if you like a melave malka, go to a melave malka; there’s plenty of places to go. Go to places where Jews are sitting and hearing Torah or learning Torah. Identify with the Klal Yisroel. Don’t identify with anybody else. Therefore, a yeshiva bochur who’s going to the sports game, and even though he’s “watching himself,” – he’s not talking to anybody, he just sits and enjoys – but that man is making himself into a zero. And it’s a tragedy when you can become a million and instead you become a zero.

TAPE # 527 (November 1984)

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  1. Wow. R’ Miller’s comments and insights are brilliant, as usual.
    And while there are times I’ll occasionally watch a few minutes of a game, I B’Shitta will not watch one second of tonight’s Super Bowl live.
    I just don’t wanna be 1 of 100,000,000 ppl watching a sporting event.
    I gotta believe, on some level, I’m better than 100 Million non-lomdei Torah. Y’know ?

  2. R’ Nosson Wachtfogel would talk about how these competitions — that people are even willing to pay to see — are a lesson about how people enjoy challenges. The lesson is to the real challenge of life – ruchnius and the battle with Yetzer hara – which is really to give a person sechar.

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